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Business Roundup | Liquid asset: Eastside water best-tasting in state

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Liquid asset: Eastside water best-tasting in state

EAST WENATCHEE — Take a sip. Roll it around your mouth. Let it settle on the tongue and tickle the palate.

The latest in fine wines? Nope: East Wenatchee tap water.

The wet stuff that flows from the pipes of the East Wenatchee Water District was, um, tapped as the best-tasting water in the state by judges at the Evergreen Rural Water of Washington fall conference Aug. 30 in Tulalip. The group announced the honor last month.

The East Wenatchee potable topped 23 entries from around the state as part of Evergreen Rural Water’s “Quality on Tap!” campaign to emphasize the high quality and taste standards of rural water supplies.

The East Wenatchee district will now compete for national honors Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C., during the Rural Water Rally, an annual legislative event for the 49 state affiliates of the National Rural Water Association.

I believe we are blessed to have such a great water resource here in our valley,” said Vince Johnston, manager of the East Wenatchee Water District. “It’s only after you taste it that you realize how special our valley’s resource really is.”

East Wenatchee’s primary source of water originates in the Eastbank Aquifer, located about 10 miles north of the city. The district, founded in 1940, uses that water to quench the thirst of around 34,000 residents using 190 miles of pipes to meet residential, commercial, industrial and irrigation demands on about 30 square miles in East Wenatchee and Douglas County.

We have great-tasting water in our state, which has been proven multiple times at the (national) competition,” said Tracey Hunter, executive director of Evergreen Rural Water. “I have confidence that the East Wenatchee Water District will let the nation know once again that Washington’s water reigns supreme.”


PUD says no rate increase in 2018

WENATCHEE — The Chelan County PUD will again use profits from wholesale power sales to rehab local dams, pay down debt, invest in fiber and — best of all — ensure no rate increase in 2018.

PUD commissioners announced the goals Oct. 16 while working on the “building blocks” of the district’s 2018 budget, said a PUD press release. Totals for the new budget have not yet been released, but 2017’s expenditures were $341 million with a bottom line of $85 million in net revenues.

The new 2018 budget will show no rate increases for the sixth straight year. District rates have increased 9 percent since 2000, while consumer prices have risen 39 percent, said the PUD press release.

In the last seven years, “the district has taken advantage of a favorable wholesale market to reduce debt, avoid rate increases and maintain reliable service to meet growing load,” said General Manager Steve Wright. “While we see challenges in the longer term, Chelan PUD continues to be in strong financial shape in the near term.”

Commissioners’ 2018 budget priorities included:

  • Investing in the district key assets — hydro plants — with the refurbishment of generating units at Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams.
  • Paying down debt by at least $24 million.
  • Continuing Public Power Benefit programs, such as fiber network expansion, free parking passes for Chelan County residents at three PUD parks and more.

The public will get its first look at a draft budget during a commissioners’ board meeting set for 1 p.m. Nov. 6. More budget discussion will follow at the next commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 20. Budget approval is expected on Dec. 4.


Live2Lead conference coming soon

WENATCHEE — Some of the world’s best business and motivational speakers will be in Wenatchee — sort of — when a half-day leadership conference is simulcast here this month.

The conference — called Live2Lead Wenatchee Valley — will take place in Atlanta, but will be broadcast here live from 7:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 3 at the Numerica Performing Arts Center, 123 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Sponsored by The Wenatchee World and Jennifer Korfiatis Marketing and hosted by Wenatchee leadership consultants Be Clearly, the conference will feature big-time business author John C. Maxwell, personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, former pro-football player Warrick Dunn and restaurant executive Cheryl A. Bachelder. (We think she deserves a round of applause just for once serving as CEO of Popeye’s, the Cajun chicken chain. Just sayin’.)

Tickets are $49. To get more info on the Live2Lead conference and register, go to beclearly.com


Wenatchee’s median home price cracks $300,000

WENATCHEE — Median home prices for July-August-September in the Wenatchee market edged past $300,000 to hit what’s believed to be the area’s highest median price ever — $305,000.

Leavenworth and Cashmere also posted steep increases in median home prices for the third quarter 2017.

Prices have risen all year in the three markets as demand increased and listings declined, Pacific Appraisal Associates noted last week in its monthly market snapshot.

Year-to-date in the Wenatchee market, the median price climbed to $290,000 — up 8 percent over September last year and a $22,500 jump since January.

The days-on-market average in Wenatchee fell to 75, a drop of 16 days from September 2016. Some brokers continued through the month to report near-instant sales — sometimes overnight, sometimes before the home was listed — especially for properties priced $350,000 and below.

During the same period, active listings were down 24 percent to hit 170. Shrinking inventory is believed to be the result of property owners’ concerns about finding their next home in a tightening market.

The third-quarter median price of $305,000 was the highest since at least 2005 and probably the highest ever, according to Pacific Appraisal records. The company began to track median prices in 2005 after posting average prices in prior years. Company execs have said the median price is less prone to swings made by sales of extremely low-priced or high-priced homes.

The Wenatchee market includes Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Malaga, Orondo and Rock Island.

Meanwhile, the median home price for the third quarter in Leavenworth zoomed 30 percent to $444,000, while listings fell 7 percent to hit 72 for July-August-September.

The Cashmere market posted similar gains with the median price in the third quarter rising 18 percent to $311,500 with listings falling 10 percent to 19 for the three-month period.

Both upper Wenatchee Valley markets also registered drops in days-on-market averages. Leavenworth’s DOM fell 14 percent to 106 (down 17 days) and Cashmere’s DOM dropped 29 percent to 96 (down 40 days).

Other findings of note in September housing markets:

  • In Wenatchee, the number of sales closing in September fell to 104, a 16 percent drop from the same month last year.
  • In Wenatchee, the number of closed sales year-to-date fell to 779 from 832 in September 2016.
  • In Leavenworth, closed sales were up 14 percent for the third quarter to 64.
  • Cashmere registered a third-quarter decline of 21 percent in closed sales to 19 from 24 last year.